Reflection on the yellow wallpaper Essay

This essay has a total of 2314 words and 9 pages.

Reflection on the yellow wallpaper




The Yellow Wallpaper

In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator and
her husband move to a colonial mansion for three months in order to help the narrator get
better. She moves upstairs in this horrid room with yellow wallpaper. Throughout the
story she studies the wallpaper because she isn’t allowed out of the room that much
because her husband, John, a physician, says that it is best that she stays inside. As
she learns more about the wallpaper she realizes that she sees a woman inside it and she
spends a lot of time plotting how to free the woman. She locks her room and tears off
most of the wallpaper and frees the woman. At the end John comes into the room, sees what
she has done and faints.

Everyone deals with their personal obstacles differently and “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a
perfect example because there are many different obstacles throughout the story. The
narrator and John both handle them differently and a result of which, is an essential
change by both of them.


First of all, John handles everything to an extent but he doesn’t solve the problem at
hand. He tends to run away from it. For example, when the narrator asks, “why the house
had stood so long untenanted,” he just laughs at her and doesn’t even investigate about
it, which proves that he just let it go and does nothing about it. And that is what he
does throughout the whole story. Also he “scoffs openly at any talk.” This means that he
doesn’t talk about his problems and he would prefer to keep things bottled up then to
express how he is really feeling. He is also always “going into town for more serious
cases.” This is another way in which John deals with his problems, he runs away from
them. He also avoids the actual subject by calling his wife a cute name like, “bless her
little heart,” and, “my blessed little goose.” These quotes just make it so he doesn’t
have to answer the question and then he has relinquished himself from the situation.
Another thing that he does to handle obstacles is he lies. When the narrator says that
she doesn’t feel any better, and this happens often, then he just says, “you are getting
better, you are eating more and you have more color today.” So john handles his obstacles
in an inefficient and ineffective matter.


The narrator however handles things in a much more precise manner. The number one thing
that made her relaxed and that calmed her down was her journal. She would write about
everything that happened not to read it later but so she was more relaxed and could think
a little clearer with whatever she wrote not in her mind. The whole story is her journal
and she writes mostly about the wallpaper and how her husband is always gone. This
journal idea is essential because we know what she is thinking and that really helps
understand the story and her character better. Also, in order for her to forget about her
surroundings she studies the wallpaper. This method, not unlike her husbands, just shows
that she is avoiding the problem as well. She spends hours on end following the pattern
of the wallpaper. The curves and patterns that go along it mystify her. This is
avoidance from the obstacle at hand and she doesn’t deal with them directly sometimes.
However, unlike John, she always wanted to talk about her condition and other problems
that they had. Her problem was when he just avoided the problem she just let it be when
she should have persisted. Also, if she has an obstacle to get around, she focuses on
that obstacle until she can clear it. This is shown with the lady in the wallpaper. All
she thought about was the lady and how she could get her free from the wallpaper. She
spent days plotting how to do so. And she persisted on it until the task at hand was
completed. So although she has some traits that are the same as John’s when dealing with
obstacles, she also has some effective ones in which make her a little better in dealing
with the problems.


There are many different obstacles that are to be found in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The
main obstacle is of course the narrator’s health. She obviously knows when she is feeling
worse or better, however her husband seems to think that he knows but he is afraid of the
truth so he always says she is doing fine. She knows better but she does not contest what
he says because he is a physician and she doesn’t want to insult him. The author
indicates through the narrator’s state of mind that she is obviously getting worse rather
than better. Another obstacle is also with the narrator’s state of mind. Her obstacle is
the lady in the wallpaper. However she must develop a way to release her from the
wallpaper and also to do it when neither John nor Jennie are around. She eventually
completes this task but she lost her sanity in the process. Another obstacle is a
physical one between the narrator and her husband John. He has her pretty much confined
to her bedroom and she doesn’t like that. She wants to have friends over and he won’t let
her see anyone. She isn’t even allowed to see her baby at all, John won’t let her do
anything that could be remotely stressful and in the end that is what pushes her over the
edge. He always leaves town and avoids her to avoid communicating about her condition and
therefore she feels as though she has done something wrong. Another minor obstacle for
the narrator is between her and the nursery. At the beginning she detests the nursery,
everything from the wallpaper, to the bed, to the smell it emitted, she just hated it. As
she learned to cope with her obstacles she learns to appreciate the room. In this story
only some of the obstacles were actually dealt with to a conclusion of resolution.


There are a couple things that account for the differences in which they attack their
obstacles. John has a practical attitude and thus he takes his time in analyzing the
thoughts of the narrator. This takes him a long time to realize that what he sees is in
fact true, she is insane. The narrator however has more of an outgoing attitude. She
wants to get out of the house and see people and she wants to do everything normally, but
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